DIGIT Movers and Shakers: October 2019
This month’s edition of Movers and Shakers features recruitment, expansion and awards news from across Scotland’s digital technology sector.
University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh Futures Institute)
The University of Edinburgh announced the appointment of one of the US’ leading experts on artificial intelligence and technology last month.
Professor Shannon Vallor has been appointed at the first Baillie Gifford chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the Edinburgh Futures Institute.
Professor Vallor will move from Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley and officially take up her new post in February of next year.
The appointment will help to establish Edinburgh as a leader in harnessing the rapid developments in data and artificial intelligence and explore how they can benefit society. Professor Vallor’s areas of expertise include the impact of emerging technologies on human character, with a particular focus on automation and AI.
Commenting on the announcement, Professor Vallor said: “In Edinburgh and around the globe, advances in the science of data and artificial intelligence are reshaping society’s most fundamental institutions and practices – from health care and agriculture to finance, media, education, and the arts.
“We need to ensure that these innovations lead to meaningful and sustainable social progress, and not only for a few. Powerful technology alone is not enough. To ensure that these transformations serve the public interest and promote the long-term flourishing of humans and our planet, we need to steer the growing power of data and artificial intelligence with moral intelligence.”
In her new role, Professor Vallor will work alongside philosophers and experts in the humanities, arts and social sciences, as well as with data scientists and technologies from the University.
She will also oversee the launch of a new postgraduate programme in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence and supervise a cohort of talented PhD students in this area.
Professor Lesley McAra, director of the Edinburgh Futures Institute, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Vallor to the University. P
“Professor Vallor’s world-class scholarship in the area of the philosophy and ethics of technology will help support the University’s world-leading interdisciplinary and international research in the fields of artificial intelligence, informatics, and data-driven innovation to help address social and global challenges.”
Accountancy firm Scott-Moncrieff has appointed cybersecurity expert Magda de Jager to its Business Technology Consulting team.
de Jager joins the Edinburgh-based firm from airline company, EasyJet, where she has worked for several years as an information security specialist; focusing on governance, risk and compliance.
She has also previously held senior security and information risk positions with EDF Energy, the Medical Defence Union and CHAPS, the real-time gross settlement system of the Bank of England.
In her new role at Scott-Moncrieff, de Jager will lead the Cyber Security and Privacy team, providing strategic security and privacy consulting advice to the firm’s clients across Scotland. Additionally, she will play a key role in helping to provide an extensive range of specialist services, such as risk workshops, maturity planning and incident response audits.
Commenting on her appointment, de Jager said: “Scott-Moncrieff has an excellent reputation for providing high-level strategic business technology consultancy and I will be able to add considerable value with my specialist knowledge in cybersecurity, which is now a crucial source of risk for businesses.
“The firm has a very wide range of clients across the public, charity and owner-managed business sectors, and I am looking forward to working on diverse and interesting projects.”
Fraser Nicol, partner and head of the BTC team, added: “We are delighted that Magda has chosen to join the firm. She has extensive experience of cybersecurity and information risk at the very highest level and has worked with businesses that are at the forefront of management of business information risk.
“She will be a great asset to the clients of Scott-Moncrieff as well as Campbell Dallas as we grow our business technology consulting client base in Scotland.”
CGI has appointed Lindsay McGranaghan to the role of business unit leader in Scotland, making her the youngest person to hold such a senior position in the company’s history.
McGranaghan joins CGI’s Scotland Business Unit amid an exciting period of growth at the company, which employs over 500 people across offices located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and the Scottish Borders.
McGranaghan commands a wealth of experience working in the digital technology sector, having joined CGI in 2012 as an account director in its central government unit.
Commenting on the move, she said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed business unit leader for Scotland. CGI’s Scottish operations are now a key part of its global business, with a proven track record which I want to build on in the coming year.
“We are expanding our presence in Glasgow with the opening of a new HQ in the city in the spring. It means we will employ just over 5oo people across all four sites.”
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Emma Causer has joined Zonal as group sales and marketing director as part of a move by the firm to strengthen its leadership team.
Causer joins the hospitality tech solutions firm from BT Sport, where she held the position of group sales director. Prior to her time at BT, Causer has worked at a range of the UK’s leading pub groups, including Ei Group.
She is also a founding member of the Plan B Leadership Mentoring Programme, which helps women in hospitality management move into board positions.
Commenting on the appointment, Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean said: “Emma’s proven reputation in sales and growing and strengthening teams speaks for itself and I am delighted that she will be bringing that experience to Zonal.
“With a Group focus, Emma will concentrate on consolidating the different areas of our business to bring together our full suite of connected technology solutions and deliver a single point of contact for our customers’ needs.”
Causer’s appointment comes at a pivotal time in Zonal’s journey as the company celebrates 40 years in business and looks ahead to the future.
She said: “I am thrilled to be joining Zonal at this exciting time and having the opportunity to work with such a talented team of people. Zonal has been around for 40 years by leading the way in hospitality technology and I’m looking forward to taking the most innovative solution set in the industry to a wider audience.”
Data science company, Effini, announced a double appointment last month which saw Brian Baglow join as head of marketing alongside Samantha Rhynas, who joins as head of data.
Baglow commands a wealth of experience in Scotland’s digital technology sector, having previously held roles at CodeClan and DIGIT. He is also the founder and director of the Scottish Games Network.
In his new role with Effini, Baglow will ensure that the company “communicates the power of data and the opportunities” available to organisations across a range of sectors and fuel the company’s growth ambitions.
Commenting on his appointment, Baglow said: “Effini’s focus on support, guidance and expert insight is putting real data science within the reach of every company. I am glad to be a part of such an incredible team and looking forward to helping spread the word about the true value of understanding data.”
Rhynas joins the firm from Edinburgh-based data science and AI company, Stochastic Solutions, where she served as head of operations.
With more than 20 years of experience in DevOps, quality assurance, service design & delivery and data analysis, Rhynas is passionate about bringing practical, effective solutions to businesses across a broad range of sectors.
Dr Jo Watts, founder of Effini, commented: “A growing number of companies in every sector are realising that the effective use of data is key to long-term success.
“Sam and Brian bring an amazing range of skills and experiences to the team. Sam’s background in software development and operations will enable us to develop our offering even further, while Brian’s communications expertise, business network and experience within the industry will help the company to grow even more quickly.”
Brightsolid has appointed Jon Gasparini as chief technology officer as the firm looks to broaden its go-to-market strategy to provide hybrid cloud managed services.
Gasparini joins the company with over two decades of experience, having most recently served as head of cloud engineering for Tesco Bank.
He has also held senior roles with PA Consulting and Cloudreach, where he played an integral role in scaling the organisation globally through a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS).
In his position as CTO, Gasparini will work closely with CEO Elaine Maddison and the senior leadership team to shape the new company strategy and solidify Brightsolid’s hybrid cloud offering.
Commenting on the move, Gasparini said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Brightsolid and I’m looking forward to developing a strong hybrid cloud offering that gives our customers access to the right mix of private and public cloud services.”
Maddison added: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Jon to Brightsolid. We believe that from next year, the adoption of the hybrid cloud will grow significantly amongst Scottish businesses. This will happen as organisations increasingly realise the benefits they can gain across cost, efficiency and flexibility by using the right cloud for the right workload.”
Glasgow-based energy tech company, Synaptec, has expanded its business development team with two new sales manager appointments.
Gordon Lindsay and Tom Morley have joined the firm to help support its growing customer base, which covers the UK and European energy network operators as well as the global offshore wind sector.
Morley joins the firm having most recently worked in a sales role in the wind turbine supply chain. In his new position, he will focus on developing the offshore wind and DSO market for Synaptec – a key focus area for the firm as it moves forward.
Lindsay brings with him more than 20 years of experience and will now focus on cultivating new customers for Synaptec in the energy networks sector.
Commenting on the double appointment, Synaptec’s head of business development, Saul Matthews, said: “As the UK moves towards the most cost-effective way to decarbonise, it is vital that network operators and the offshore wind supply chain have knowledge of, and access to, technologies like our which save thousands in capex costs.
“The addition of Tom and Gordon to our team enables us to reach more people at a critical time in the UK’s energy sector.”
Business consultancy Consenna has moved to new premises in Renfrewshire amid a period of significant growth at the firm.
The move follows hot on the heels of Trevor Evans’ appointment as managing director. The former HP and Apple executive joined the company in September.
In recent months, the company has enjoyed several large project wins which have prompted the firm to move to the larger space at the Old Mill office development in Houston.
Paul Thompson, commercial director at Consenna, said: “We’ve been successful in building a business over the past ten years that has grown year on year. With this, comes the need to ensure we’re growing our team and providing both them and our valued client-base with a work environment that helps instil creativity whilst providing plenty of space and light.
“Our new home at the Old Mill is not only ideally located, but it also offers plenty of space and light and will allow us to grow further over the coming years.”
Software consultancy, Infinity Works, has opened a new office in Edinburgh following its second major client win from the Scottish financial services sector.
The Leeds-headquartered firm, which won its first banking client in Edinburgh in 2017, has leased private offices at WeWork’s George Street location. The company will use the new office to expand its growing team of software engineers, technical architects and technical leads.
Infinity Works said it plans to double the Edinburgh team’s headcount to 20 employees over the coming months.
Paul Henshaw, co-founder and director of Infinity Works, said: “George Street is a showcase location and will help us to continue to attract great talent in a competitive market. While we are no longer technically a start-up, we still try to reflect the start-up culture and mentality and our new set-up keeps that way of working and thinking close to our heart.”
Henshaw added: “It also allows us to host and sponsor fun meet-ups for the tech community to get together and share knowledge about the latest technologies.
“Ultimately it underlines we are a serious grown-up business in Edinburgh now and it is a brilliant opportunity to build a fantastic new Infinity Works operation in a great city.”
Edinburgh-based fintech, ShareIn, has announced plans to expand its team to over 40 people over the coming year.
ShareIn will expand its Edinburgh team on the back of the recently-announced launch of ShareInPay. The firm is currently based at Codebase, the UK’s largest tech incubator.
Commenting on the announcement, CEO Jude Cook said: “We’ve been so lucky being able to build such an incredible team here at ShareIn. I am constantly amazed and I’m not exactly sure how it happened.”
Currently, more than half of the ShareIn team at Codebase are women, and the firm employs people from a diverse range of backgrounds encompassing some 12 nationalities.
CTO and co-founder Andrew Pickett added: “The next phase of growth for ShareIn is really exciting and building out the team further is the natural next step.”